Years later, Maria took on the daunting task of sorting through Mona's mountain of papers to create an archive for the University of Toronto's Fisher Rare Book Library. The chaotic state of the boxes reflected Mona's flamboyant and demanding personality, yet they also drew an important picture of the life of a Canadian freelancer in the twentieth century. Mona had begun publishing poetry and features in newspapers in the 1920s and published three books of poetry in the 1940s. In the 1950s, at a time when many women were retreating from the public sphere, she had a successful radio career. Her later journals and letters recount, in agonizing detail, a downward spiral into self-doubt, poverty, and addiction. Maria soon discovered that the truth of Mona's life was even more fascinating than her stories. Outside the Box brings to life a thinly documented era in Canadian letters through the story of one passionate and conflicted woman. It also charts the journey of an unwilling archivist, coming to terms with family secrets, forgotten history, and the stories that are never told.